The Everlasting Impact of Lindsey Vonn
By Dana Froome
David Paul Olsen, Kristi Castlin and Maia and Alex Shibutani reflect on the skier's legacy.
When you’ve broken and torn almost every part of your body, how do you know when it’s the right time to stop? Lindsey Vonn: The Final Season takes viewers on a journey, highlighting the physical and emotional sacrifices the skier made on her way to World Cup records.
“This is the most in-depth I’ve ever gone with anyone,” Vonn told an audience filled with friends, family, colleagues and admirers minutes before the premiere of her documentary at the Writer’s Guild Theater.
Even after experiencing her fair share of injuries, the four-time Olympian has reason to consider herself lucky. Over the course of her career, she has torn her ACL, shattered her arm, torn her miniscious and suffered from multiple concussions — but Vonn always took the necessary steps to recover and compete. That all changed in November 2018, when Vonn crashed and tore her LCL and sustained three bone fractures. Despite extensive therapy and training, she realized she couldn’t make the necessary turns for her upcoming race at the highest levels and announced her retirement one week prior to competing in Are, Sweden.
“My body is broken beyond repair and it isn't letting me have the final season I dreamed of. My body is screaming at me to STOP and it’s time for me to listen,” Vonn wrote in her Instagram post.
While Vonn didn’t end up beating the World Cup win record, her resilience and unwavering commitment to defying the odds have left a lasting impact on the world. “There is a beauty of the human spirit that carries her far beyond what her body was ready to do at that point of her career. That’s what makes it so heartbreaking and that’s what makes it so beautiful and that’s what makes her such a hero,” said actor David Paul Olsen as he reflects on the skiers legacy. “I don’t know if anyone else could have done that.”
For track and field athlete Kristi Castlin, Vonn’s story feels familiar. “I think that’s one think about being so resilient as athletes,” she said. “We are always getting injuries. It’s not just physical, it’s mental as well. You can become so defeated. So depressed. It’s just so physically hard all the time. So, being a woman and bouncing back has been so amazing.”
While Vonn is well-known as an iconic skier, competitive ice skaters Maia and Alex Shibutani were grateful they got the opportunity to know her as a friend. “It was our first Games back in 2014 and we were just new kids on the block. And she was obviously already a legendary athlete in her own right. But she was very kind and supportive and set a great example for us.”
Lindsey Vonn: The Final Season premieres November 26 on HBO.